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STARS (sensory teaching, advisory, and resources service)

STARS (sensory teaching, advisory, and resources service) logo

The Sensory Teaching Advisory and Resources Service (STARS) provides hearing and vision support to learners aged 0 to 25 years.

We aim to help all learners to reach their academic potential, and become active members of society. Our qualified teachers are specially trained to support learners with hearing and / or vision loss.

Available support

Support with hearing

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Someone with hearing loss may not be able to hear very well, or they may not be able to hear at all. Some people are born with hearing loss, and others develop it during their life. A person with hearing loss may also be described as 'deaf' or having a 'hearing impairment'.

We know that learners have the best chance of reaching their full potential when their needs are identified early and they are given the right support.

We work with learners and their families, as well as adults who work with them, to understand the learner's hearing levels. We also look at how these may affect the learner's day to day life, at home, at school, and in the community.

Depending on their needs, our learners can get support including:

  • an assessment of their needs
  • information, advice, and training for families and educational settings
  • training on how to use equipment which helps with listening
  • developing listening skills
  • developing language and communication skills
  • understanding other people's thoughts
  • support through key stages of transition (for example moving schools)

Support with vision

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Someone with vision loss may not be able to see very well, or they may not be able to see at all. Some people are born with vision loss, and others develop it during their life. A person with vision loss may also be described as 'blind', 'partially sighted', or having a 'visual impairment'.

We know that learners have the best chance of reaching their full potential when their needs are identified early and they are given the right support.

We work with learners and their families, as well as adults who work with them, to understand the learner's vision levels. We also look at how these may affect the learner's day to day life, at home, at school, and in the community.

Depending on their needs, our learners can get support including:

  • an assessment of their needs
  • information, advice, and training for families and educational settings
  • training on how to use equipment which helps with seeing
  • developing the skills to do things independently
  • developing the skills to find their way around the home and community
  • support through key stages of transition (for example moving schools)

Support with both hearing and vision

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Someone with multi-sensory impairment (MSI) has difficulties with both hearing and seeing. Some people have a limited ability to hear and see, and some cannot hear and see at all. Some people are born with MSI, and others develop it during their life. A person with MSI may also be described as 'deafblind' or having 'dual sensory loss'.

We know that learners have the best chance of reaching their full potential when their needs are identified early and they are given the right support.

We work with learners and their families, as well as adults who work with them, to understand the learner's hearing and vision levels. We also look at how these may affect the learner's day to day life, at home, at school, and in the community.

Depending on their needs, our learners can get support with both hearing and vision. More information about this support is available in the 'support with hearing' and 'support with vision' sections above.

Our staff work with colleagues in social care to make sure the right support is available at the right time.

Getting support

Ask for support with hearing

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Parents and carers who are worried about their child's hearing should speak to their GP about a referral to the local ENT or audiology department. We can provide informal advice to parents and schools at this stage.

We accept referrals for hearing support from ENT (ear, nose, and throat) consultants and paediatric audiologists.

Learners attending Sunnyside Academy, Kings Academy, Preston Primary School, or Northfield School are supported by specialist staff in those schools. If you're thinking about whether your child may be able to attend their local school in the future, school staff should use the STARS referral form to ask for support.

You can use the online STARS referral form to make a referral.

Ask for support with vision

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Parents and carers who are worried about their child's vision can refer their child to STARS.

We also accept referrals for vision support from ophthalmology consultants, schools, and any other professionals working with a learner.

Learners attending Sunnyside Academy, Kings Academy, Preston Primary School, or Northfield School are supported by specialist staff in those schools. If you're thinking about whether your child may be able to attend their local school in the future, school staff should use the STARS referral form to ask for support.

You can use the online STARS referral form to make a referral.

Ask for an assessment of multi-sensory impairment

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We accept online referrals for multi-sensory support from social care professionals, families, schools, or any other professionals working with the learner.

You can use the online STARS referral form to make a referral.